Ohio State vs. Indiana NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Trayce Jackson-Davis #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers dunks the ball against Notre Dame. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

It’s early in the Big Ten regular season, but Indiana has an undesirable 1-2 record in conference play already and another loss, when Ohio State pays a visit, would have a real impact on their season.

The Buckeyes arrive in Bloomington trying to keep their Big Ten record clean, attempting to keep pace with Michigan State and Illinois who are also unblemished in league play.

Indiana (10-3, 9-4 ATS) has two conference setbacks and both were on the road. At home, the Hoosiers are a perfect 9-0 (7-2 ATS), however, the 13-ranked Buckeyes will easily be the best team they have faced.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Thursday, January 06, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

The betting odds at Caesars and other top sportsbooks have Indiana as a two-point choice over Ohio State who is 2-1 and 1-2 ATS in true road contests, with this their first road underdog role.

Ohio State Must Maintain Poise and Work on Dribble Penetration

Though Ohio State and Indiana both shoot over 49 percent from the field, the Buckeyes are more efficient. With players like E.J. Liddell, Zed Key and Kyle Young, Ohio State is 8th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 57.3%. This is a trademark of coach Chris Holtmann teams being this one in Columbus or at Butler.

The passing and cutting are done with one aspect in mind, find the best shot. Though every team attempts to accomplish this, Holtmann recruits more basketball players than athletes and this typically adds to more players who can rip the nets.

Though offense matters for the Buckeyes, you better make 80% of your shots for Holtmann because if you are not willing to bend over and play defense, to borrow from Dick Vitale “you will become an assistant coach, sitting on the bench.” 

Ohio State has held opposing clubs to 40.2%, playing a more positional style of defense, designed not to allow penetration, which doesn’t lead to many forced turnovers (11 a game).

Indiana Looking to Pick Up Pace on Offense

With the Hoosiers scoring 75.7 PPG overall and 77 PPG at Assembly Hall, you wouldn’t think the offense is a concern. Yet, it is because, in three conference battles, Indiana is at a frustrating 61 PPG.

Coach Mike Woodson wanted to run a 4-1 offense (four outside, one around the lane) to maximize space and create driving lanes. This has not worked as he hoped and he’s changed course to a more traditional 3-2 look, which helps inside scoring but also clogs up the lane.

Defensively, it is hard to find fault with Indiana’s defense, which ranks 3rd in the country in field goal percentage allowed at 35.4%. If you want to get nit-picky, and we do because we noticed it, opposing players who have a quick or long first step off the dribble can blow by Hoosiers’ defenders. Trayce Jackson-Davis does offer rim protection and Woodson has brought NBA-style help principles to Bloomington, yet, it is worth mentioning against a team that shoots like Ohio State.

What is the Best Side to Be On?

Over the years, there has not been much to choose from when these clubs collide in the Hoosier State with Indiana 11-9 and 8-11-1 ATS at home against the Buckeyes.

For college basketball picks our first inclination was to support Ohio State who is 10-2 ATS in road games versus teams making 45% or more of their shots. However, Indiana’s record at home and its 16-6 ATS home after a road loss by three points or less, has swayed our opinion.

Next, we considered the Hoosiers defense and we uncovered the Buckeyes are 3-13 ATS in road games after four straight contests where they made 47% or more of their shots, which placed us on the home team.

NCAAB Pick: Indiana -2 (-110) at Caesars